Throughout July, we’ll study the evolution of the luxury real estate market, talk to top producers and offer advice on how to take it to the next level, all leading up to the rally of the year, Inman Luxury Connect, August 2-3 at the Aria in Las Vegas. Make plans now to join us there.
In this monthly column,Antoine Askowitzexplores a hypothetical real estate situation on both sides of the broker/agent dynamic. Anthony is the owner broker of the largest RE/MAX office in South Florida and an active agent who sells over 100 homes each year.
Status of the month: An increasingly successful luxury real estate agent negotiates a potential move to a new office. How far should a competing broker go to get it on board?
Agent’s point of view
I’ve been a top producer at the same company for nearly two decades, and like LeBron James back then, I’m ready to deploy my talents in an exciting new area. The timing couldn’t be better: ten years ago, I fully committed myself to becoming a leading player in the luxury sector, and trained in things like high-end architecture, fabrics, landscaping, furnishings, finishes, cars, etc.
After many risks, ups and downs, and a lot of hard work, I’ve absolutely killed it over the past five years, making it into the top ten of our region’s luxury producer list. While I enjoy my current society, it’s getting a little too old-fashioned for me, and I’m excited to test out the free agency market.
Like anyone else in my position, I want the best of everything: obviously the highest compensation and benefits possible, but also the right “fit” for me and the way I do business. When you have four top brokers recruiting you very aggressively, you can essentially write your own ticket in terms of splits, bonuses, office space, and other perks.
I’ve seen other agents move up and down in this business for a long time, and now is definitely a good time to ask for – and get – what I want. Could someone blame me for expecting VIP treatment from my future office?
Broker’s point of view
Kudos to this agent for recognizing the value of his hard work and subsequent success. Our office is definitely keen to recruit her, youo supplement our current base of agents specializing in luxury. She’s exactly what we’re looking for in a rookie, and I’m particularly impressed with her knowledge of all the intricacies that matter to high-end buyers and sellers.
We’d love to have him on the team – if the agent and I determine it’s a good fit for both of us. “Team” is really the key word in this sentence. I am responsible for the overall profitability of the office, which means maintaining a positive environment for all of our agents, no matter where they are on the path to success. Any addition should add to the benefit we have to offer, rather than cause acrimony or ill will.
Our competitors are known to bow down to their top luxury prima donna producers, giving them lavish perks like large desks, personal assistants, full-page ads advertising hiring, and preferred placement on job ads. company. (Not to mention huge signing bonuses and generous shares.)
I wonder if this is not a bad philosophy that breeds resentment and jealousy among the office colleagues of their new recruit. I also wonder if the rookie asked enough questions before biting the hook and signing a contract that may have minimum guarantees for continued rights to benefits, and penalties for leaving if it turns out the agent is not satisfied with how the reality matches the promises.
While I totally agree that this agent has earned all the respect and recognition we can give him, I also believe in providing all agents in our company with the same opportunities and benefits, period. . While their colleagues may treat top luxury producers differently and clients may “see” them differently, here in the office my job is to keep everyone on a level playing field, with the aim of seeing more of them reach their full potential as top producers. .
I intend to offer this free agent an attractive and competitive package to incentivize her to join us based on how she can grow and build an even more profitable business with our help, rather than “l ‘to buy”.
How to solve
At first glance, it looks like the high-principled broker has a real challenge in overcoming the expectations of this rising rock-star luxury realtor. How can he sell her the benefits of moving away from cool (but short-term) sweeteners in exchange for better long-term opportunities? If we peel back some layers, there can be a path to victory for both parties.
An important distinction in this situation is between the “visible” advantages and benefits that brokers can provide and those that are unlikely to be known or seen by others, namely control.
If the broker is sensitive to the optics of treating luxury agents the same as its agents across industries, it can craft an offer that minimizes obvious incentives such as free office space, personal assistants and preferred ad placement, and maximizes confidential factors such as the financial structure of building a team and the freedom (within the limits of law, ethics, and policy) of decision-making within the agent’s business.
This freedom allows the agent to run their own business without the expense and oversight that typically comes with owning a business.
This approach has the potential to satisfy all parties, with the agent ultimately getting the highly desirable compensation they deserve and the broker avoiding a bad precedent. It shouldn’t be too difficult for the broker to sell these rewards as the most desirable elements of any offering, and emphasize their team style as another strong selling point.
NOTE: Anthony Askowitz is not an attorney and does not give legal advice. Please consult a licensed attorney regarding the matters discussed in this column.
Anthony Askowitz is the broker-owner of RE/MAX Advance Realty, with offices in Hollywood Beach, Davie, Miramar, North Miami, South Miami, Kendall and the Florida Keys, and where he directs the activities of more than 190 agents. Follow him on Instagram.